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I suggest that,you stick to what you feel comfortable with , local rules permitting. I have been so used to using barbless hooks that I stick with them. just for the record I used to fish a venue where barbed hooks were permitted and there did seem to be more fish with damaged mouths than on venues where barbless only rule was the norm. Of course there could have been other factors at work but it convinced me.

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If you know what you are doing when unhooking a fish, the fish can still be released without causing much damage.


Personally I was very much like you until I started using the internet to find out more about fishing, the great thing about the net is that it makes you question what you are doing as compared to what others are doing, as a result my captures of fish have increased.


As a direct result of Steve Burk's comments I have started using whisker barbed hooks where venue rules permit, when the capture of perch is likely. Since doing this, combined with my earlier strike rate, my captures have not declined, but I haven't put a fish back that hasn't swum away freely.


Another thing I learned is that perch will die if your keepnet is in a depth of water significantly different from the depth they were caught in, they can't adjust to the change in water pressure as quickly as other fish. Again this has also reduced my use of keepnets and again reduced the number of "Nearly Deads" that are put back in the water, to the point that I can't remember the last time it happened.


Keep reading, ask questions and you'll learn alot, but be careful of jumping to conclusions just based on your own experiences, I did, and now that I listen to others my fishing is far more enjoyable and successful.



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A Microbarbed hook in the throat of a fish is likely to cause less damage than a Barbless hook due to the likelyhood of the barbless hook slipping. The barb helps keep the hook in one place where a barbless hook will move around during the fight.

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Babar, I don't think a microbarbed hook takes much getting out & if it does, it suggests it's not a microbarb.


Look back to Steve Burkes post about the Perch, this is precisely what he is referring to about the dangers of a barbless hook penetrating too deeply & moving about.


It's preferable to have a hook that is a little more difficult to get out than risk damaging vital organs.



The loose lines gone..STRIKE.

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Also, apart from the fact that barbless do cause damage whilst playing the fish, there is the other problem regarding the amount of pressure applied on the hook through fear of the hook falling out.


I've seen inexperienced anglers exerting far to much pressure on a fish, and with the rod at full testcurve, just because they are worried that any less tension and the hook will fall out.

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Has there ever been qualified research on this issue? It is okay having rules and policies on still waters and the like but when it comes down to rivers that never see any form of control then pehaps we need atleast a sound guide. Some of the theories put forward are, at best, just that, theories. The result of a research programme would be interesting. I have a feeling that some of the theories might well not be substantiated.

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